The fake news that’s actually fake.
The NRL has announced an ambitious 10-team finals series, starting in 2021.
With the Gold Coast Titans and NZ Warriors coming home with a wet sail this season, and in arguably better form than finalists Newcastle and Cronulla-Sutherland, the NRL decided it was time to expand.
Rather than the controversial wildcard system floated around, the new format is inspired by the old final five systems of the eighties and nineties (last used in the 1997 Super League season), and will feature two conferences with five sides each.
Their will be 13 games across five weekends (compared to nine under the top eight format), with four games each in the first two weeks, two preliminary finals, two conference finals, and a grand finals between the conference winners.
New NRL CEO Andrew Abdo is excited by the 10-team format. “This will be the biggest milestone for the Greatest Game of All since the Six Again rule. I had a meeting with our broadcasters Channel Nine and Fox League, they’re both over the moon with the extra finals footy. The two extra finals spots means the closing rounds will be even more important, with more teams a chance to make it. Our finals are going to blow the AFL away!”
Adbo is also shopping around potential sponsors for the two conference naming rights.
”Right now, they’re boringly named Conference A and Conference B, but we’ve had a lot of lucrative offers for the naming rights.”
Under the new format, the top two teams get a week one bye and only have to win one game to qualify for their respective Conference Finals. Teams three, four, five and six get a double chance, while teams seven, eight, nine, and ten face sudden-death footy from week one.
Conference A (sponsors TBA): 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Conference B (sponsors TBA): 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Week One (four games)
Major Preliminary Semi Finals
Conference A: A) 3 vs 5
Conference B: B) 4 vs 6
Minor Preliminary Semi Finals
Conference A: C) 7 vs 9
Conference B: D) 8 vs 10
Week Two (four games)
Major Semi Finals
Conference A: E) 1 vs winner A
Conference B: F) 1 vs winner B
Minor Semi Finals
Conference A: G) loser A vs winner C
Conference B: H) loser B vs winner D
Week Three (two games)
Conference A: I) loser E vs winner G
Conference B: J) loser F vs winner H
Week Four (two games)
Conference A: K) winner E vs winner I
Conference B: L) winner F vs winner J
Grand final (one game)
M) winner K vs winner L
The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass